Scientists are desperately trying to save the world’s glaciers. As they hold a large amount of water and carbon dioxide, it is essential that we slow the demise of these structures for the climate’s sake.
We’ve previously written about a group using special mountain blankets on Mount Titlis trying and tackle these melting giants. Now we are going to report on a robotic sub that will dive underneath three large glaciers in Greenland; Kangilliup Sermia, Umiammakku Sermiat, and Kangerlussuup Sermia.
The purpose of this mission, set to launch midsummer 2023, is to reveal exactly how large the glaciers are. Therefore, informing scientists how big of a threat to rising sea levels they will become in the hotter future. All three are involved in the moving of ice from Greenland’s interior into the ocean, making them important in the arctic ecosystem.
“The big uncertainty in Greenland’s contribution to sea-level rise is how fast the ice sheet is going to lose mass,” Ginny Catania, a professor at the University of Texas Jackson School of Geosciences who is leading the project, said in a statement.
They continued: “We know how much sea-level is stored in the ice sheet, we know the climate is warming and changing the ice sheet, but what we don’t know is the rate at which these glaciers will contribute to sea-level rise.”
What will the robotic sub be looking for?
This is the first time humans will have a close-up of the underneath of these giant structures. The submarine, named Nereid Under Ice (NUI), will focus on the walls of sediment and sand which the glacier pushes out in front as it moves. These structures help stabilize the ice, so collecting data about the topology allows scientists to understand their role and how they may be able to assist them.